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Not With The Band: Where Are The Misogynists?


Courtney Barnett


How was my year in music women-wise? For me, genres usually don’t enter into consideration when I listen to music, if I like what an artist does, it does not matter if it’s a he or a she, but let’s play the game, was my year feminist enough?

I listen to Alabama Shakes (fronted by a fierce woman, Brittany Howard), to Courtney Barnett, Sleater Kinney, as they all released an album this year, and I continue to listen to Angel Olsen, but it’s barely enough compared to the amount of male musicians I listen to. In concerts I went to see local and international female artists and bands such as Mr. Little Jeans, Dorothy, Colleen Green, Death Valley Girls, Holly Miranda, the Bangles, Lael Neale, Hemming, Pony Boy, Halo Circus, Best Coast, Peaches, Kim the Created, Le Butcherettes, Kings… and may be a few others but it’s still not enough compared to the number of bands fronted by males… I have attended at least 140 concerts in 2015, so the large majority were about men, males, guys…

Of course the end of this year belonged to a famous woman, Adele, and we were talking about Taylor Swift all-year long right? So why am I complaining?

I am not really complaining, it is much better than it used to be, but women are still a minority like in any other profession. It’s still a man’s world and what else is new? Even Lady Gaga was talking about it just two weeks ago at the Women in Music event held in New York City, she called the music business a ‘fucking boys club’:

‘I tried for so long, I just really wanted to be taken seriously as a musician for my intelligence more than my body ever in this business. You don’t always feel like when you’re working that people believe that you have musical background, that you understand what you’re doing because you’re a female.’

Young songwriter Lael Neale told me that the title of her album ‘I’ll Be Your Man’ comes from her desire to prove herself as a female songwriter and reaffirm her self-assurance in a world still dominated by men,

Bjork also gave an interview to Pitchfork when she released ‘Vulnicura’ this year, reminding journalists that Acra was not the sole producer on her new album… the same can be said of Grimes, Joanna Newson, Solange Knowles, and Taylor Swift, who all have complained and told stories of condescending remarks from male musicians and critics… So even very accomplished females have a hard time to be recognized for what they are doing.

Why is it the case? Why didn’t I see 50 females in concerts this year? Are we still living in a very misogynist culture? The recent cover of the New York Daily News is very revealing, when you need the voices of 60 women to counteract the voice of ONE single powerful man (Bill Cosby), we can admit that we still have a long way to go. The Kim Fowley-Jackie Fox debacle was another example, even worst because a lot of female musicians didn’t stand behind Fox and supported the boys’ club on the contrary. Cosby may go to jail but he is old, too old, he should have been condemned for his crimes much earlier. Kim Fowley never went to jail and if you dig on Twitter, you may find many people who still praise him like a hero….

We put women down when they are professional or when they try to enter the boys’ club, and we don’t believe them when they say they have been abused or rapped,… but when it comes to crimes they could have committed, we also have a problem: no, women don’t do that, they can’t kill and murder someone, it’s very misogynist to accuse a female of a crime,… Fans who think Courtney Love and Jennifer Chiba may have been responsible of Kurt Cobain and Elliott Smith’s deaths are qualified of misogynists… isn’t it the greatest irony ever? And isn’t it the total opposite? Why women wouldn’t be responsible of the worst act possible, an act that many men do all the time, isn’t it these people who deny women from their murderer-potential who are the misogynists in this case? If a woman is really man’s equal, we should be able to consider they can accomplish the best like the worst. 2016 will tell if we are ready for this change.

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